It is midnight as I write this. I’ve had a pretty shitty day and I need to vent a bit.
Tonight, someone whom I love very much and care about deeply ‘confessed’ to me that they often think about ending their own life and struggle with their self worth, confidence, and in finding their purpose in life. I write ‘confessed’ because they feel like it was a confession – but it shouldn’t have negative connotations the way it does. I have never once noticed that they struggle with something like this, and I usually spot it very easily in other people. Call it a flaw or call it a quality of mine, but I usually find the suffering in others quickly because I know what to look for from my own. However, with this person I have never noticed. And it has broken my heart.
This person means a great deal to me – they make me feel alive when I want to be the very opposite. I can’t look at them without smiling, and I trust them with absolutely everything I could ever need to confide in them about. But I never spotted their depression and anxiety – and it got me questioning the person I am.
I scoured WordPress looking for some articles on here, trying desperately to find someone who has also failed to spot this in a loved one, and came across an article on concealed depression by ‘discovering sooz’. It lists 15 attributes of someone who suffers from concealed depression. Said loved one of mine, fits every single bullet point on the list – they are talented but don’t see it/struggle with finding their purpose or a shred of self confidence/ consume caffeine like oxygen/ have struggled with drug abuse in the past/ go days without eating and hardly sleep a wink. They fit the bill, so how did I not notice?
I then thought back to previous depressive episodes of mine, but only the really bad ones. The heavy heart, constant migraines, permanently exhausted but unable to sleep, weight loss episodes. The ones that had me lying in bed at night crying about how the noise never stopped and how I just wanted it all to be over. The ones that eventually lead to the not crying, which was somehow worse (if you know, you know). And despite having my death planned out, my close friends never noticed, let alone my parents whom I actually lived with. And then I realised – we are MASTERS of disguise! We zip up our grinning masks in the morning and pretend life is great and that we have our shit together. It is difficult to spot in others, because the chances are its hidden away in the depths of the person, rather than sitting proudly on the surface like a shiny new toy.
These people need to be told that it’s okay, and that they are not alone. But how can they be told this if nobody knows they need to hear it? My solution, and believe me I have thought this over in a lot of depth tonight, is to just tell everyone. Show your support to everyone. Compliment someone – tell them they are brilliant at their job or that you have always admired their kindness! If you don’t like someone, just be pleasant. Stick up for those who might not have the strength to do it themselves. Go out of your way, every single day, to be kind. Kindness costs nothing, but can mean everything to someone.
And to those of you who do suffer from depression, anxiety, low self worth, anything at all… Don’t be ashamed. It is not a flaw, it is not a disease. It is who you are and it is nothing that needs to be hidden. It does not need to define you, but it doesn’t need to be your dirty little secret either. Ask for help when you need it, and always prioritise yourself.
I know this is a rambling post and probably doesn’t make much sense but basically I want everyone to know that they are not alone in how you feel, you just need to search depression here to know that. Be kind, be thoughtful, and go out your way to do something nice for someone. Make sure your loved ones, and even your not so loved ones, know you are there for them.
Love, Robyn x